“A Goodly Heritage” – A brief history of The Melbourne Scots

The Melbourne Scots has a proud history dating back to  1919 when six Scotsmen met for lunch at Scott’s Hotel in Melbourne. Their purpose was to discuss the possibility of forming a Scottish Society in Melbourne, whose functions would be to “foster Scottish sentiment and to maintain Scottish tradition in this community”. Two other customers, overhearing what was taking place, expressed an interest and joined the group. Another who had sent his apologies is also remembered among the founders. The nine men were among the leading Scots in Melbourne – James Dyer, James Campbell, David Carnegie, WH MacLennan, Dr T Taylor Downie, Dr JF Agnew, R Fergusson, Allen Morrison and Alex A Laing. The traditions of The Melbourne Scots were formed at that time and have continued to this day.

There have been many prominent members of the Melbourne Scots but probably none more so than Sir Robert Menzies who was the dominant force in the Society throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Sir Robert was followed by Presidents Jock Duguid, the Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser and Sir Ninian Stephen. Other eminent Scots Australians who have been deeply involved included Sir Ian McLennan, Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop, The Rt Hon. Sir Billy Snedden and the Hon. Sir Rupert Hamer.

The two prominent functions on The Melbourne Scots calendar are the St Andrews Night and A Nicht Wi’ Burns.  The excellent publication “A Goodly Heritage” contains a number of speeches from those evenings dating back to 1969. The book certainly achieves its aim “to entertain, inform and keep alive The Goodly Heritage”.

Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation

Another prominent member and indeed Life Member Mr J G  Donaldson generously gifted funds to The Melbourne Scots Council and Scotch College for the purpose of promoting Scottish heritage and culture. The following link to the web site provides more detail on the Foundation.  www.vshcf.com.au